The Merry Widow Wrap Up

Hey everyone...well thats it, with a little sigh, the Merry Widow in over.  Bye bye Merry Widow, we don't need your money anymore, lol.  We put a lot of time into it with Robert Hynd (choreographer) to get the ballet up and running, and so quickly it's over...but I would have to say it was a successful 2 week run.
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I loved performing the role of Danilo.  As I mentioned a long time ago in one of my blogs leading up to the performance, Zachary Whittenburg from Time Out Chicago asked me if the role of Othello (choreographed by Lar Lubovitch) helped me prepare for this production.  The preparation for a production like the Merry Widow, Othello, etc is similar when it comes to preparing for full length ballets.  In such a circumstance you focus on "a story, the dancing, and acting", but each story is completely different and unique.

Both ballets in this case have just incredible challenges, but they are very much their own entities.  In this instance the homework for the role as Count Danilo Danilovitsch, first secretary of the embassy and Hanna's former lover, was to get the acting just as it should be.  My focus was to get the exact mannerism that would be appropriate for a count, as well as to focus much more attention on my acting, particularly in my face.  The pantomime in this ballet is very advance so I pushed myself a little more on my facial expressions to get his personna just right and to allow the large audiences to truly understand this man from their seats no matter where they were in the audience.  I was certainly thankful to have Ronald Hynd there coaching us, helping me with all the little details that matter in the end.
In comparison to my preparation for Danilo, Othello was a warrior, where the gestures were more primal and with great strength and ferocity.  My goal was to put on more than 40 pounds, transform myself into the exact look, with the roughness of a beast. Othello, I admit, was one of the hardest ballets to get through in term of stamina, though completely changing your body to do so adds new  challenges to the process.  The Merry Widow on the other hand was a great ballet with fine details, great dancing, beautiful costumes, and yet still a challenge to my stamina.
I want to once again thank The Chicago Tribune, the Suntimes, Time Out Chicago, and all the bloggers who wrote about the performance and about the Joffrey.  The dancers of the Joffrey appreciate all the attention and dedication to our work, and it keeps us going especially when injuries are camping out around the corner for so many of us.  And of course, thank you to our boss Ashley Wheater for making this season exciting and rich in experiences.
Be sure to check out my own backstage photos from the performance here.
-Fabrice
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  • I really enjoyed your comments on how you prepared for a role in a full-length ballet. A teacher of mine used to say dancers these days are so athletic that they forget that extra touch of bravura which the old dancers had. I am reading Stanislavski's books on acting currently and to understand how you prepare is a great lesson for me. You were a truly elegant count and I loved your waltzes. It reminded me of watching my father and mother dance when I was a child.

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